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ITV 'could launch takeover bid for Channel 4' to create 'British super-broadcaster'

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ITV is reportedly considering a takeover bid for Channel 4.

It's been claimed that the rival channels could merge after the UK government announced plans to privatise the currently publicly-owned Channel 4.

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Under the proposals, Channel 4 is set to be sold by 2024 with an estimate selling price of £1 billion.

The Telegraph report that ITV has already sought advice about potentially launching a bid for the channel.

A source told the newspaper: "The best bet for the UK is that ITV and Channel 4 combine so the nation has one strong commercial public service broadcaster.

"A merger of ITV and Channel 4's streaming services would create a much more substantial player in the digital space.

"It would double in size and be classed as a proper contender to the Americans."

There's also speculation that the likes of Sky, Discovery and Paramount may consider submitting bids. As yet no official bid has been made.

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Plans to privatise Gogglebox and Bake Off broadcaster Channel 4 were announced on Monday.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: "Channel 4 rightly holds a cherished place in British life and I want that to remain the case.

"I have come to the conclusion that government ownership is holding Channel 4 back from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon.

"A change of ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and freedom to flourish and thrive as a public service broadcaster long into the future."

In response to the plans, Channel 4 said in a statement: "With over 60,000 submissions to the Government’s public consultation, it is disappointing that today’s announcement has been made without formally recognising the significant public interest concerns which have been raised.

"Channel 4 has engaged in good faith with the Government throughout the consultation process, demonstrating how it can continue to commission much-loved programmes from the independent sector across the UK that represent and celebrate every aspect of British life as well as increase its contribution to society, while maintaining ownership by the public.

"Recently, Channel 4 presented DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] with a real alternative to privatisation that would safeguard its future financial stability, allowing it to do significantly more for the British public, the creative industries and the economy, particularly outside London. This is particularly important given that the organisation is only 2 years into a significant commitment to drive up its impact in the UK’s Nations and Regions."

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They added: "Channel 4 remains legally committed to its unique public-service remit. The focus for the organisation will be on how we can ensure we deliver the remit to both our viewers and the British creative economy across the whole of the UK.

"The proposal to privatise Channel 4 will require a lengthy legislative process and political debate. We will of course continue to engage with DCMS, Government and Parliament, and do everything we can to ensure that Channel 4 continues to play its unique part in Britain’s creative ecology and national life."

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